Q&A with Martin Krajewski of Aristea Wines
Aristea is a project created by Opimian supporter and friend Martin Krajewski from Clos Cantenac in Saint Émilion, together with Matt Krone from the Cape and winemaking consultant Florent Dumeau. It is a partnership between three friends that have dared to dream of making the finest wines possible from the ancient lands of the Western Cape. Wines that not only capture their long years of combined experience, but wines that will also reflect their individual identity and bring great happiness.
How was Aristea created?
We started this wonderful adventure with just one thought in mind: to produce exceptional wines that encapsulate the wild spirit and raw beauty of this wonderful land and that make people smile. To realize those ambitions, we work carefully with the top wine farms in the region to source and access their finest fruit and we remain uncompromising in our attention to detail, employing only the best practices in our winemaking. We also promise to carefully observe and respect the traditional rigour and history of the Western Cape on our long journey. We are committed to adapting our work in such a way that it blends seamlessly with local craftsmanship and techniques, bringing a modern and creative approach to the production of our great wines.
What attracted you to South Africa in the first place? What is special about winemaking in this country?
Friendships and a passion for wine – South Africa has been making wines for 350 years. That seems a reasonably good reason to challenge ourselves further!
Which winemaking techniques are used at Aristea? Are some winemaking traditions more important than others to you? Are there winemaking techniques typical of South Africa?
They are a blend of old and new world techniques, from Bordeaux & South Africa, but also from other countries and different parts of France. Our techniques can be typical, but usually come with a huge twist, and sometimes they are outrageous statements that encapsulate our collective winemaking knowledge from many years of working around the world, our personalities and the heights that we aim to reach.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect South Africa n winemaking in general, and your business in particular?
It is well reported that COVID shut down the South African wine industry for long periods – but we have survived through resourcefulness, hard work and the will to win.
What makes Aristea Wines radically different?
Aristea wines express a sense of place, crafted with skill and adventure by friends united in a single purpose: to capture the elegance and spirit of South Africa. The wines made here could never be made in Bordeaux. These boutique wines represent the true artisan nature of their making and are produced in limited quantities each year.
What are Aristea’s core values?
To produce only the best or nothing at all – we have followed that always and have therefore not produced some of the wines in difficult growing years. We also like to have fun and to bring joy to all who sample our wines!